Lando Norris fears overtaking will get rarer in Formula 1, while Alex Albon says he expects drivers to rely on DRS more and more as cars continue to develop in the relatively new regulations.
Max Verstappen effectively sealed his world championship at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix with a dominant win – after starting 14th on the grid he took the lead on the 12th lap and eventually won by 26 seconds to Carlos Sainz, the fastest non-Red Bull.
At the 2023 Belgian GP, drivers were asked whether the impact of DRS should be reduced to prevent drivers like Verstappen scything their way through the field quite so easily.
“I don’t think so, if you look at the overtaking this year we’ve had less and less,” Albon told the media. “If you want the exciting overtaking, side-by-side overtaking if that’s what you’re talking we’re kind of at the limit now I think.”
“I think the competition is getting closer so the closer the cars, the harder to overtake,” Norris added. “I don’t think you can use a Red Bull or Max as an example even if they start last in every race they’re gonna come through no matter what, whether there’s DRS or not.”
“The racing for the middle of the pack is good, it’s exciting, but the more technical the cars get generally the worse the racing gets. I think the answer is yes, we need DRS otherwise you’re not going to want to watch on TV at all.”
Albon: Make DRS zones even longer?
Albon, whose Williams team has moved closer to the front of the grid in 2023 after years in the wilderness previously, agreed.
“The cars are closing up now that’s a great thing,” Albon said. “And once the cars start to close up more and more – it happens every year – then we might actually need to consider making the DRS zones even bigger to then start to promote overtaking again.
“Because I think it’s getting quite tough now to overtake cars. I think it’s getting harder and harder.”
Norris added: “Even from this year to last year I’d say the racing is more difficult and worse than what it was just because the cars are evolving quite a bit.”